The 2020 Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), former President John Mahama, is asking the Supreme Court to put all proceedings on the election petition on hold.
In a fresh application filed this morning by his Lawyers, Mr. Mahama asks that the court first review its decision to disallow him to serve interrogatories to the Electoral Commission as that application is pivotal to his case.
He also wants another application he filed to inspect the documents of the Electoral Commission (EC) and make copies of same to be determined before the substantive case will proceed.
The amended election petition filed Thursday morning said if the trial proceeds without the review of the court’s decision to disallow the interrogatories, and also without a determination of his application to inspect and copy the EC’s documents, it would amount to a miscarriage of justice.
“I am advised by Counsel and believe that the application for review is based on certain fundamental errors of law that the Court made in its ruling, leading to a miscarriage of justice. At the hearing of this application, Counsel will crave the indulgence of the Court to refer to the statement of case in support of the application for review, particularly to show that there are indeed serious matters of law that are to be determined in this review application, and I am likely to succeed, as the ruling of the court is manifestly in error,” the application said.
it noted that the court’s decision to make orders, including that his team file witness statements by this morning and the fixture of January 26th, 2021 as the time for the start of the trial amount to putting the cart before the horse because those interrogatories and other applications are key to his case and the trial.
“Discovery processes, such as interrogatories, are normal pre-trial processes to limit the scope of a trial, and the review application will seek to recognize to have recourse to them. In this particular case, the use of the mechanism of interrogatories will ensure a speedier trial; the denial to us of leave to serve interrogatories is a serious miscarriage of justice which we expect to have remedied in the Review, and for the hearing of the Petition to proceed before the review is heard would cause irreparable harm to the conduct of our case, “the former president’s lawyers wrote.
It also pointed out his legal team has also served a request to admit facts on the EC which has not yet received a response, saying the “the request to admit facts is necessary for the finalization of our witness statements, yet orders made by the court on 20th January 2021 require us to file witness statements by noon on 21st January 2021.”
“All the above constitute exceptional circumstances on the basis of which we respectfully seek orders of the Court staying the proceedings in this case until the determination of the Application Review,” it said.
Mahama’s lawyers added that if proceedings are stayed it will not disadvantage the Respondents – the EC and President Akufo-Addo in any way.
On Wednesday, lead Counsel for Mr. Mahama told the seven-member Supreme Court panel Chaired by Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah that their decision to disallow the 12 interrogatories they wanted to serve on the EC and subsequently tell them to file witness statements in less than 24 hours was unfair.
Legal team member and former Attorney General, Marietta Brew Appiah Oppong had later told journalists she was shocked at the behavior of the panel, saying that the Court’s orders which fixed the commencement of substantive trial on the 26th of January without allowing the interrogatories amounted to a denial of justice.
Meanwhile, WhatsUp News has picked up reports that Mr. Mahama’s legal team did not file the witness statements as ordered by the court.